As I walk up the Fountain Street sidewalk inside Hot Springs National Park, suddenly nut shells begin to rain down around me. I look up and see a Squirrel chewing on the sweet tender meat of a newly shelled nut. It makes me smile to see them on this glorious Earth Day in the Park. I head toward the Floral Trail and spot a sweet Chipmunk foraging on the hillside next to me. I am blessed to be here.
I hike up the Floral Trail to the Lower Dogwood Trail and I am surprised by a movement to the side of me. I look down and see a snake coiled up on the edge of the trail. The big North American Racer lifts it’s head as I step back to take a photo, flicks it’s tongue and heads up the embankment away from me. A perfect Earth Day gift from Nature.
I connect with the Upper Dogwood then take the Hot Springs Mountain Trail to the Gulpha Gorge. From the Gulpha Gorge Trail I head over to the Goat Rock trail. Along the Trail I hear rustling in the leaves and wonder if its Snakes or Lizards moving about. Another gift from Nature a Prairie Racer, the first I have spotted. It’s brown racing stripes and changing color tail are so beautiful. Further up the trail a plump, perhaps pregnant Prairie Lizard it sitting on a log flicking it’s tongue at passing insects.
I am escorted along the upper part of the Goat Rock Trail by a Mourning Dove. No matter how close I get the funny bird just keeps strolling along ahead of me. It made me joyous to have this special guide through the Forest. Continuing onto the Upper Dogwood Trail I can hear a light rustling sound and I look down to see a wonderful Male Box Turtle. It is the first Turtle I have seen in the park.
As I near the top of the Trail I spot a lovely couple from New Jersey I had spoken with earlier. They are staring at something and as I approach they point out a large (5 ft plus) Texas Rat Snake. The snake is stretched out on the Forest floor, several bulges in his body are an indication he is resting after a big feast. Nature has blessed me again with the sight of this glorious snake.
I hike from the Upper Dogwood to the Lower Dogwood and off North Mountain via the Floral Trail. Special thanks to the engineer of the cute rock sculpture I discovered along the trail today. It has been a perfect Earth Day in the Park, thank you for sharing it with me.
Love You All,